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This month we have expert opinion from tutor Janie Jackson on the art of slicing irrelevancies from your writing in Gentle Surgery. Ten Top Tips covers getting an agent and there’s the usual inspiration and useful websites.

The Writers Bureau Student Stories

‘To write is to capture a mood, to harness a notion, to untangle a dream. It seems a miracle to me that from twenty-six letters placed in Rebecca Banksvarious orders, tales of ethereal magic, woe and despair, caustic reality, or wild passions can be created, read and either loved or hated, that feelings lain dormant can be stirred and augmented by a few words written or a few words read. Writing can place me slap bang in the centre of normality, or fling me into a world beyond imagination. Through writing I find out about people, relationships, experiences and places, and explore my own thoughts, feelings and fundamentals.

‘The first full article I wrote was for a food magazine – County Kitchen – and it was based on a delectable local delight, the Staffordshire Oatcake. Writing this article prompted me to meet some truly lovely people and sample some delicious oatcakes. The article was published, with photographs amounting to a two page spread. The pleasure and pride I felt at seeing my words in print, knowing others would read my article, perhaps learn something new, was hugely satisfying. I have had another article published in County Kitchen, on pickled walnuts, as well as a reader’s letter in BBC Good Food. Trying not to concentrate too heavily on one topic area however, I also submitted a Christmas article to a local publication. This was based around trying to be ‘greener’ during the festive period. This too was published. I have now earned my course fees back as payment for my work has amounted to £450 and a case of wine, so far!

‘Currently I am working full time and eight months pregnant. This does mean I am far less prolific than I would like to be with my writing. The Writers Bureau course is ideal for someone in a similar situation to my own. At once it is both flexible yet structured, providing the motivation I need to ensure that I write regularly and move my dream forward a little bit each day.

‘To write for a living is a dream that I used to contain almost completely within myself, hardly daring to voice or imagine it for too long. Starting The Writers Bureau course was the beginning of something very special for me. I wanted to write to make sure I was doing something worthwhile with my life, doing something I believe in and something I love. So whether writing becomes a satisfying hobby, a pastime that pays, or a full-time occupation, I will feel happy that I have already achieved something which means a great deal to me… to be a published writer.’

Rebecca Banks, Wolverhampton

Thanks, as always, to Rebecca for sharing his inspirational story with us. If you would like a prospectus for the Comprehensive Creative Writing Course please email us here with your full name and postal address.

Or, to share your success stories with others, just send an email to with 'Success Story' in the subject line.